Despite their courage and perseverance, tragedy is inevitable for Andi and her younger brother Paul, who are living with their grandmother in a Greek village during the civil war between communists and monarchists after WW II. Their parents are hiding in the hills with the communists; the village lives in fear of the brutal new police chief, whose bullying son, Aristo, leads one of the village's two gangs; Andi is a potent force in the other. Still, life goes on with school, festivals, and daily chores; taking a message to old Stammo, the shepherd (it turns out later that he is an important link with the rebels) and discovering a cache of arms in a cave are unusual events. After Andi defeats Aristo in a kite-flying contest, animosity mounts, and Paul is the victim of a vicious attack sparked in part by their own ten-year-old cousin, who is still mourning the assassination of his monarchist father. Paul's fatal injury draws his mother out of hiding, as the attackers hoped. A brief, poignant epilogue--Andi and her father are now refugees in Sweden--underscores the novel's dark tone; as long as neighbors quarrel over ideology, ordinary life and growth are cruelly abridged. This first novel, by a Greek-born author who was educated in Sweden before moving to England, brings both this tragic time and the beautiful land where it occurred hauntingly to life.